Senegalese rappers are taking on the news in the way they know best Xuman and Keyti, have been rapping the news in French, Wolof, and English for the last two years. Their YouTube series, known as JT Rappé has reached over 11 128 151 views on youtube.
“Welcome; make yourself comfortable,” hip-hop artist Xuman rapped. “We’ve got some news for you.” is how Xuman launches into his intro, rapping in French instead of talking.
Journal Rappé covers national and international topics. The content is often serious and is delivered in a tone that seeks justice. Rap in Senegal has a history of being tied to protest and opposition movements. “In this country, there are 100,000 companies who need to pay their taxes. From the 10,000 who pay, only 100 pay the majority. But the mining companies pay 0 percent!” Xuman rapped.
Their raps can reach people who might not follow traditional news outlets, like younger generations. While their main platform is their YouTube channel, the videos also air after the evening news on a TV station in Senegal’s capital.
Their viewers are often outside Senegal, and their show also features other rappers from nearby countries like Killa Ace of the Gambia who once participated in one of them.
Journal Rappé has also reached beyond Senegal’s borders. With support from the Open Society Foundations, Keyti and Xuman have worked with rappers in Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Uganda, Madagascar, and Jamaica to foster similar approaches to the news. Next year the rapping duo plans to start training rappers as “correspondents” in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.